NixOS, a Linux distribution with a focus on reproducibility, has been updated to version 21.05, a major release that introduces new technologies, new features, and numerous improvements.
More than seven months in the works, NixOS 21.05 is dubbed “Okapi” (a.k.a. the forest giraffe) and comes with major component updates, starting from the core as the default kernel has been upgraded from Linux 5.4 LTS to the latest long-term supported series, Linux 5.10 LTS.
However, NixOS 21.05 also supports the latest and greatest Linux 5.12 kernel, if you install the
linux_latest package from the repositories, but the developers of this unique Linux distribution don’t recommend using it with the ZFS file system.
Another big change of the NixOS 21.05 release is the bold move to the latest GNOME 40 desktop environment. The main edition, which is recommended for more users, ships with GNOME 40.1 and offers the same layout that we can see in other popular distros, namely with the Activities Overview as default view.
For KDE fans, NixOS also has a KDE Plasma edition, which has been updated to the latest KDE Plasma 5.21 desktop environment. As expected, this is accompanied by the recently released KDE Gear 21.04 software suite, a well as KDE Frameworks 5.81.
New services have been added in this release too, such as the Keycloak identity and access management server that supports OpenID Connect, OAUTH 2.0 and SAML 2.0, the Discourse, open source discussion platform, a Web Services Dynamic Discovery host daemon (
services.samba-wsdd.enable), as well as Nebula VPN (
Many packages have been updated to their latest versions at the moment of the release. Some of the notable ones include Kodi 19.1, GNU Radio 3.8, Nextcloud 21, nginx 1.20, Privoxy 3.0.32, PulseAudio 14, PostgreSQL 9.5, Thinkfan 1.2, MariaDB 10.5, xfsprogs 5.11, PowerDNS 4.3, and libreswan 4.4.
There are numerous “under the hood” changes in the NixOS 21.05 release regarding backward incompatibilities and other improvements, so make sure you check out the full release notes for more details. You can download the live and installable ISO images right now from the official website.
This release is supported for the next seven months, until the end of December 2021.
Last updated 3 weeks ago